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Back to the villa! The Love Island UK season 9 cast includes a former Bond girl and more contestants looking for love this winter.
Love Island UK, which is the original Love Island, premiered in 2005 on ITV, but it wasn’t until it was rebooted in 2015 for ITV2 that it became the reality TV dating show we know and love today. Since it was rebooted in 2015, Love Island UK has aired seven seasons and led to dozens of international spinoffs in countries like the United States, Australia, South Africa and Spain.
The show, which is one of the highest rated series in the UK, has also led to real-life marriages and babies for couples who met as contestants such as season 2’s Cara De La Hoyde and Nathan Massey, who are married and share two children, and season 3’s Camilla Thurlow and Jamie Jewitt, who welcomed a baby in 2020. So who’s in the Love Island UK season 9 cast? Read on for what we know about the contestants in the Love Island UK season 9 cast and what icks each islander has.
Who’s in the Love Island UK season 9 cast?
Who’s in the Love Island UK season 9 cast? Meet the Love Island winter 2023 contestants ahead.
Hometown: Buckinghamshire, England
Will Young is a 23-year-old farmer from Buckinghamshire, England. He was an original Islander and entered on day one. “Having grown up on a farm ,it’s been quite difficult juggling relationships and work. Love Island will give me time away from the farm to solely go out and find love. I think I’m at the time of my life where I’m mature enough to go and find a wife,” Will told ITV in a press release for Love Island UK season 9. He continued of what he thinks he brings to the villa, “Good energy, I’m a bit of cheeky chap, good vibes, good to be around.” When asked why he thinks he’s single, Will responded, “Honestly? Probably commitment issues. I self sabotage myself sometimes when I’ve got a good thing going. I do like my own space and my own time; I haven’t got stress about anything and just worry about myself.
His elevator pitch for why someone should date him: “I bring real good, loving energy and I’m a wholesome boy who can bring you to the farm and show you his animals and just live one of those happy lives in the cottage.”
What gives him the ick: “When someone’s rude.”
His claim to fame: “Claudia Winkleman came to my farm. She was lovely and got stuck in. She poured water over me.”
Hometown: North London, England
Tanyel Revan is a 26-year-old hairstylist from North London, England. She was an original islander and entered on day one. “I feel the experience will be amazing! I do feel like I am ready to meet someone and push myself out of my comfort zone to meet someone who’ not my typical ‘bad boy’ type,” Tanyel told ITV in a press release for Love Island UK season 9. She continued of what she thinks she brings to the villa, “Energy, confidence, I’m funny, loud, feisty, charismatic.” When asked why she thinks she’s single, Tanyel responded, “I’m single because I’m so fussy. When it comes to dating, I’ve had bad experiences but also good experiences, which have molded me into who I am today.”
Her elevator pitch for why someone should date her: “I’m hard to get, confident, funny, charismatic, good looking and happy. I’m also a very loyal person, what is there not to love?”
What gives her the ick: “Someone who is tight and stingy, it makes me feel sick. If you’re tight, I will never see you again in my life, honestly!”
Her celebrity crush: “Channing Tatum – I don’t like pretty boys, they give me the ‘ick’ because they always have a crap personality. Channing Tatum is handsome but not too pretty. He’s manly and he can dance. If a man dance dance I’m in love with him straight away.”
Hometown: Liverpool, England
Job: Biomedical Science Student & Influencer
Tanya Manhenga is a 22-year-old biomedical science student and influencer from Liverpool, England. She was an original Islander and entered on day one. “I’m looking for a boyfriend and I think being in a villa with lots of different people will help me work out who it is I may want,” Tanya told ITV in a press release for Love Island UK season 9. She continued of what she thinks she brings to the villa, “I’m super nice, but don’t let it fool you. I want to be friends with everyone but if you’re gonna be cheeky I’m the sort of person that will give it back. I will bring good vibes and good energy.” When asked why she thinks she’s single, Tanya responded, It might be trust issues. I don’t trust guys. Some want to get serious really quickly, but I don’t trust them enough, it’s all about trust.”
Her elevator pitch for why someone should date her: “I’m very out there, spontaneous, fun and confident. I won’t be insecure about you chatting to other girls – but don’t try anything funny!”
What gives her the ick: Guys that don’t wear socks in the house. Why are your feet flapping all around the house? Guys have huge feet too, yuck. Also, guys in the bathtub with no bubbles, such an ick, no.”
Hometown: London, England
Job: Airport Security Officer
Shaq Muhammad is a 24-year-old airport security officer from London, England. He was an original Islander and entered on day one. “I haven’t had the best luck with previous relationships. so I thought, why not be in the sun and potentially meet the love of my life? Hopefully I do come out with my future wife. The person I hope to marry one day. Hopefully she’s in the villa,” Shaq told ITV in a press release for Love Island UK season 9. He continued of what he thinks he brings to the villa, “I get on with people in general, so I think people will naturally be drawn to me. I’m a lovable person. I do put myself first and I’m not scared to just go for what I want, if I have to step on people’s toes or things like that.” When asked why he thinks he’s single, Shaq responded, “I have dated, but no-one’s just clicked fully on all levels with me. I’m not one to rush into a relationship if I don’t feel like it’s right for me. I’m not saying you have to tick every single box, we just have to vibe and be on the same level. So, until I meet someone like that, I’m going to stay single.”
His elevator pitch for why someone should date him: “I’m a great boyfriend. I’m very kind and thoughtful. Parents always love me. They say, ‘He’s a good person, you should marry him!’ Once I’m with someone I’m always all about that person. I’m very vocal about that. I’m a catch!”
What gives him the ick: “I don’t like rude people. It automatically puts me off. That and slang words – if you call me ‘bro’ I’m off, that’s a complete turn off, I can’t handle that.”
Hometown: Essex, England
Job: Financial Advisor
Ron Hall is a 25-year-old Financial Advisor from Essex, England. He was an original Islander and entered on day one. “I think it’s the best show to find love on. I’m now 25 and I had in my head that I’d be with someone, settled and married by say 27… it’s now coming awfully close to that. It’s now a good opportunity for me to force myself into that intense environment. I don’t use dating apps and texting, it’s forced. Being in there, chatting to someone 24/7 that suits me and my personality,” Ron told ITV in a press release for Love Island UK season 9. He continued of what he thinks he brings to the villa, “Fun and charisma. I just want to be naturally myself in there, have good times and make memories. I think people will enjoy my company.” When asked why he thinks he’s single, Ron responded, “I’m career focused and wanted to enjoy myself and do all the things I wanted to do. I now feel that I’m emotionally ready to say, ‘I’m now ready to find someone.’”
His elevator pitch for why someone should date him: “I’m the most genuine person you’ll meet. I’m genuine, caring and I’m a nice person – which you don’t find these days.”
What gives him the ick: “Patchy fake tan.”
His celebrity crush: “Madison Beer”
Job: Ring Girl & Actress
Olivia Hawkins is a 27-year-old ring girl and actress from Brighton, England. She was an original Islander and entered on day one. “I’m 27 and I’ve never been in a relationship so I feel like now I’m really ready to settle down and hopefully find the love of my life,” Olivia told ITV in a press release for Love Island UK season 9. She continued of what she thinks she brings to the villa, “I’ll bring fun, vibes, I’m a very confident, bubbly person… maybe a little bit of drama!” When asked why she thinks she’s single, Olivia responded, “Out of choice and maybe because in the past I’ve had commitment issues – but I’d say it’s mainly just the wrong boy, wrong time.”
Her elevator pitch for why someone should date him: “I’m very loyal and have a big heart. When I fall, I fall deep so I would give someone 100 percent of me as long as they give 100 percent back. I think I’d be an amazing girlfriend.”
What gives her the ick: “There’s a few… when guys have no pillows on their bed. I went into a guy’s room once and I was like, ‘You don’t have any pillows, where am I supposed to lay my head?’ He went and got one from the sofa. Also when men use umbrellas, it’s a really weird one but it’s just the thought of them running outside under the umbrella.”
Her claim to fame: “I did a film with Jason Statham and he had a nice 10 minute convo about life. I’ve been a ring girl for KSI, I played a waitress in James Bond with Daniel Craig and i’ve also been a body double for Michelle Keegan and Emma Watson.”
Her celebrity crush: Anthony Joshua
Hometown: Manchester, England
Job: Science & Physical Education Teacher
Kai Fagan is a 24-year-old science and physical education teacher from Manchester, England. He was an original Islander and entered on day one. “When you first meet someone you never normally get to spend that much time with them, so when you’re genuinely looking for a connection, the villa is the perfect place to do it,” Kai told ITV in a press release for Love Island UK season 9. He continued of what he thinks he brings to the villa, “I’m pretty lighthearted, I love a laugh, I’m really calm and chilled as well, pretty level headed, quite mature… but not too mature.” When asked why she thinks she’s single, Kai responded, I’m single by choice. I’m looking for the right girl. I feel like I have quite high expectations. I don’t feel I should commit to someone unless I’m absolutely buzzing over them, because it’s not fair on them.”
His elevator pitch for why someone should date him: “I’m caring, loving and impulsive so I’m always fun to be around. I’m always busy, I’m never sitting still. If you like to be busy too, then you can be busy with me. I can’t remember the last time I sat in on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night.”
What gives him the ick: “There’s loads… having smelly breath is one. I don’t like a girl that calls me ‘mate’ or ‘bro’ and stuff like that.”
His claim to fame: “My cousin Dean was in Coronation Street. I went to school with Marcus Rashford and we were in the same class. The school I went to was sponsored by Manchester United – I had so many experiences because of that.”
His celebrity crush: “Margot Robbie!”
Hometown: Luton, England
Job: Makeup Artist
Lana Jenkins is a 25-year-old makeup artist from Luton, England. She was an original Islander and entered on day one. “I’ve been single for quite a while, I’m normally a relationship type of person so the fact that I’ve been single for two, almost three, years is quite rare for me. Now’s the right time for me to be doing something a bit different. I’ve not been able to find anyone who suits me so it’s good to do something totally different and try to meet someone a different way,” Lana told ITV in a press release for Love Island UK season 9. She continued of what she thinks she brings to the villa, ” I think I will bring a lot of flirtation. I’m funny and I think I’m just a good person – so I will probably get on with everyone. I’ll just go in there, have a laugh and have a really good time. If I’m lucky, and there is someone I get along with, I think it could be really special. I’m looking for something that’s a bit deeper, something more serious that could turn into something long term and hopefully a little love story.” When asked why she thinks she’s single, Lana responded, “Because I’ve been through relationships that have made me want to find someone perfect. I’ve been with people that haven’t been meant for me. Since then I’ve been really picky about who I go for and who I let into my life.”
Her elevator pitch for why someone should date her: “I’m amazing in a relationship! I’m a good cook, good at tickles, I’m fun to be around – but also very relaxed and laid back.”
What gives her the ick: “I don’t mind people texting me all the time but if you send me question marks if I’ve not replied to you in a while, you’re gone. That’s a really big red flag for me! Also if I see a guy trip over, that’s an instant turn off.”
Her claim to fame: “In my work as a makeup artist I’ve worked with lots of celebrities. Also, when I was 6-years-old I used to live in Spain and I was in an episode of Benidorm as an extra.”
Hometown: Doncaster, England
Job: Television Salesman
Haris Namani is a 21-year-old television salesman from Doncaster, England. He was an original Islander and entered on day one. “I’ve never found love. I think this is the show that can help me. It’s the best opportunity for me to find the girl and the right one. I’ve obviously not found the right one myself,” Haris told ITV in a press release for Love Island UK season 9. He continued of what he brings to the villa, “I’m different. I’m a unique guy, the way I act; confident, not awkward, especially with the girls. I’m friendly. I’m very respectful as well. Anyone who meets me, I don’t think they have anything bad to say about me. I don’t give them that bad impression to say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to speak to him again.’” When asked why he thinks he’s single, Haris responded, “I’m not too sure. I’ve never been turned down by a girl. I know it can happen, but my strike rate is 100 percent. I’ve just not found the spark.”
His elevator pitch for why someone should date him: “Young, inspiring, I have big ambitions in life. Good looking, fun, active – I think I tick a lot of boxes. Enough for a girl to sit down and say, ‘He’s good.’”
What gives him the ick: “Big feet. Anything over a size 5.”
Claim to fame: “My mum tells me that I look like Ronaldo.”
Celebrity crush: “Jennifer Lopez.”
Hometown: Swansea, Wales
Job: Payroll Administrator
Anna-May Robey is 20-year-old payroll administrator from Swansea, Wales. She was an original Islander and entered on day one. “I want a boyfriend, I want to find someone who makes me laugh. I’ve been single for quite a while, my mother is bugging me, she’s like, ‘You need to find a boyfriend.’ I’m just excited to try something new and I think going on Love Island is a good way to meet someone,” Anna-May told ITV in a press release for Love Island UK season 9. She continued of what she thinks she brings to the villa, “I will bring fun, I’m always up for a laugh, if someone tells me to go and dive in the pool I will probably do it. I’ll bring energy to the villa. I’ll get everyone up playing games! I’m also not afraid to get in someone’s way; if I like someone, I’ll let them know.” When asked why she thinks she’s single, Haris responded, “I’m single because I’m fussy and I get the ick easily. I also go for the same type of guy so I need to broaden my horizons, so I hope to do that in the villa.”
Her elevator pitch for why someone should want to date her: “I’m funny, energetic, spontaneous.”
What gives her the ick: “I don’t like people who brag or who are really materialistic. Another thing is watching a boy get his haircut and the barber pushing up the seat, you know the pumping thing? I used to go to the barber with my ex and I used to sit there and every time the barber would do it, I would have to look away.”
Her celebrity crush: “I like a bit of Anthony Joshua but I wouldn’t say no to Jamie Dornan as well.”
Who is the Love Island UK season 9 host?
Who is the Love Island UK season 9 host? Television and radio presenter Maya Jama is the Love Island UK season 9 host. ITV announced in October 2022 that Jama would replace Laura Whitmore, who left as the Love Island UK host after season 8. “I’ve always been such a massive Love Island fan and I’m so excited to be hosting one of the nation’s favourite shows! I can’t wait to get into the Villa to meet all of the Islanders,” Jama said in a statement at the time.
“Finding a new host to follow the wonderful Laura Whitmore was never going to be easy. In Maya Jama though, we have another high-profile fan of the show who’ll be a great addition to the Love Island family. Cool, charming and charismatic, I speak for us all when I say Maya will also bring a unique presenting style to the show, as did Laura and, of course, the very much missed Caroline Flack. We’re very pleased to have her on board,” Paul Mortimer, Director of Reality Programming at ITV2, added in a statement.
Jama is an English television and radio host and DJ, who is best known for hosting BBC One’s Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer in 2020 and BBC Three’s Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star since season 3. Jama also hosted 4Music’s Trending Live! from 2015 to 2017, ITV’s Cannoball in 2017, and MTV’s True Love or True Lies in 2018. She also hosted the first season of Channel 4’s The Circle. As for radio, Jama hosted Rinse FM’s #DriveWithMaya from 2014 to 2017 and BBC Radio 1’s Maya Jama from 2018 to 2020. She also co-hosted the stations Radio 1’s Greatest Hits.
Whitmore reacted to news Jama was the new host of Love Island UK in a comment on the show’s Instagram post announcing Jama in October 2022. “Yes girl!! So delighted for you! You’re gonna be fab,” Whitmore commented at the time with a a red heart emoji.
In an inteview with The Sunday Times in January 2023, Jama claimed that her young age prevented her from being hired as Love Island UK‘s host sooner. “Once you start doing TV, you meet a lot of producers through different shows, and the heads will be aware of talent. That’s weird to call yourself talent, isn’t it? I talk for a living. It’s not exactly tap dancing everywhere or performing a ballad,” she said. “So I think I’ve always been in their eyeline, but I was super young when the presenter shifts were happening in the past. They knew about me but I was always a bit too young, and obviously, there were previous hosts anyway.”
In a press release for Love Island UK season 9, Jama revealed how she learned she’d be the new Love Island UK host. “I was in New York. The first person I told was my best friend in Bristol. She wore loads,” she said. She continued, “I celebrated with different people each time. I celebrated with who I was around when I found out, then I celebrated when I got back to London. I feel like I’ll celebrate more after it’s done, then we can be like, ‘Yay we did it!’ rather than getting too excited before it’s happened.”
Jama also revealed what she loved about Love Island UK as a viewer. “I’ve been a fan for years. It was my first reality show, other than Big Brother, that I made sure I was back at a certain time to watch and all my friends and family were speaking out,” she said. “Everybody gets involved, everyone has opinions – from the older people in your family to the younger ones. It’s just fun, it’s fun to see how people play out in different situations and wonder what you would do if you were in the same position. Most of us have had a bit of a holiday romance before and it’s like watching that on telly.”
Jama also explained what she thinks makes a good islander. “Someone that’s looking for love, someone with a lively personality, somebody who is open and shares their feelings, but also someone that’s not afraid to keep their options open and test the waters. Just someone that’s willing to get stuck in and get fully involved in every bit of the experience and all the challenges. Make the most of it!” she said. “And allow it to be a proper test and see if your relationship can carry through that, rather than play it safe. I think that’s what makes the best islander.”
Who is the Love Island UK season 9 narrator?
Who is the Love Island UK season 9 narrator? The Love Island UK season narrator is Iain Stirling who has narrated the show since season 1. He is also married to former Love Island UK host Laura Whitford and also narrates Love Island US. In an interview with GQ in 2021, Stirling opened up about how his experience on Love Island UK has changed over the years. “In previous years, it might have been, ‘Redo this joke, please,’” he said. “That’s pretty uncommon these days because the producers trust us more [laughs]. Me and Mark, my writing partner — he works for ITV Studios in development and he’s the guy who actually came up with the Love Island format, 50-year-old Scottish vegetarian, really interesting guy — we’ve just really got the tone down. We’ve also just started asking them beforehand, like, ‘Can we say this?’ Saves us a lot of time. Now, it’s things like, ‘Can you say these people’s names in a different order because they’re sat on a bed in this order?’”
He also told the magazine about how he knew Love Island UK would be a success from the first episode. “God’s honest truth — the very first coupling. When I saw the footage of the very first, original coupling on Season 1, I was like, ‘This is unbelievable,’” he said. “I couldn’t believe how much I cared about everyone instantly. The first time a boy came down and they said, ‘Step forward if you like him,’ and no one stepped forward I was like ‘I can’t not watch this, it’s madness.’”
He continued, “Especially then, they were all such characters. Like there was this girl, Hannah, who was from Liverpool — and for an American, now that is a fuckin’ linguistic journey. Her accent was unbelievable. And she was a former Playboy bunny, and she had this insane swimsuit on, and had had a lot of work done. There’s a big thing with women in Liverpool, Scouse girls, on a Saturday you walk around a mall in Liverpool, every woman has got rollers in her hair, getting ready for a night out. She just had this massive blow dry, her hair was huge, platinum blonde, and she had these glass heels on. A builder from Essex got coupled up with her. I was just like, ‘I love this.’ I loved it. I honestly loved it.”
Despite his witty narrations, Stirling also told GQ that he would “never” hurt contestants on purpose. “No, never. We were never told to make fun of the show. [Mark and I] figured that out ourselves. We just thought, if we make fun of the show first, other people can’t really,” he said. “Also, the only reason it works is because the show’s actually quite good. Like with making fun of the dates, the Islanders can be at a rubbish table or whatever with plastic champagne glasses, but they still have to be on quite a nice beach.”
He continued, “If they were just in someone’s shitty backyard and it looked terrible, and I said ‘that’s terrible,’ it’s not funny. It has to come from a point of actually being quite good. If the show ever actually gets bad, we are in a difficult position, because it’s not comedy if you’re just saying something’s bad that is bad. I think self-deprecation is also a very British thing. I’s very British to say, ‘This is bad. Isn’t that funny?’ You’ve got to say ‘I’m shit,’ and then everyone will go ‘Oh yeah, I’m shit as well.’ That’s what Love Island does really well.”
In an interview with The Arizona Central, Stirling explained how narrating the U.S. version of Love Island is different from the U.K. “I think the hardest thing will be the language,” he said. “I don’t even know what you call it if someone mugs someone off. I don’t even know what you’d say. What do you call that in America when a boy is mugging you off?” He continued, “(Phrases) like ‘mugged off’ weren’t a thing before “Love Island.” So hopefully America will get to invent, sort of, their own vernacular and come up with our own little phrases and make it feel unique to them, do you know what I mean? I would love to get an American (version of) … mugged off, et cetera. So we’ll see how it goes.
Though the slang is different, Stirling also confirmed that he’s up-to-date on American references—for the most part. “I think — and I’m sure Americans do know this — but literally, like, half of our news feed is American news, American politics. If you go to the politics section of the BBC website, half of it will be U.S. politics,” he said. “Culturally, I think, we’re sort of all right. All the TV shows, I sort of get. The sports, I don’t understand. I don’t get that. Basketball is cool. But why is soccer not the best sport? It’s mad; it’s the best game. It’s so good.”
He also told The Arizona Central about what it’s like to narrate Love Island US and UK at the same time. “It’s a bit wild, and I’m very fortunate because the people at Peacock are sort of, like, very aware of how full-on it is, and they’ve done everything to make it possible that I can do this and sort of do things like, you know, sleep and see my family and eat, things like that. Everything’s in LA for the American show, apart from the writing team,” he said. “We’ve basically got two huts next to each other, and me and Mark (Busk-Cowley) will write the British one. And then the second we finish recording that, we go into the American room — I was going to say office, but that makes it sound too good — and go inside the American box. We’ll help those guys write what they’ve written so far and sort of let them know things we would and wouldn’t say. And also we learn stuff, like Americans don’t know what grafting is! I found this out today.”
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